All the world is nuts about
What's in The Nut Gourmet
Mom needs plenty of TLC on her special day, so pour on the extra attention--spoil her a little and watch the smile on her face grow happier. Whether you dine out or prepare dinner at home, make the finishing touch a tantalizing dessert at home.
Of course, you'll want to prepare Mom's favorite treat. But if she doesn't have a favorite, or she leaves the choice to you, go for a centuries-old French innovation--a light-as-a-feather crepe. Top this gustatory treat with a cinnamon-laced compote of seasonal fruits heaped over the crepe. We find crepes an excellent choice because both the crepe itself and the filling/topping can be prepared ahead.
The French chefs were certainly onto something magical when they created the original crepe made of buckwheat around the 12th century. During the early 1900s, white flour came onto the scene and offered a lighter, thinner crepe more akin to today's crepe consistency.
For some brief yet fascinating crepe history and an unusual way to predict one's fortune, visit Monique's Crepes.
CREPES WITH APRICOT PLUM COMPOTE
Yield: about 10 to 12 crepes
1 cup (240 ml) whole wheat pastry flour or all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups (420 ml) plus 2 tablespoons vanilla flavored soymilk
1 tablespoon organic sugar
1 tablespoon canola oil plus 1 or 2 teaspoons for the pan
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Egg replacer for 1 egg, following manufacturer's directions
- Line a dinner plate with parchment and have ready an 8-inch (20 cm) non-stick skillet or crepe pan.
- Combine the flour and salt in a blender and pulse to combine the flour and salt evenly.
- Add the soymilk, sugar, 1 tablespoon of the oil, and vanilla to the blender and process until well blended.
- Combine the egg replacer and water in a mini-blender and process until the mixture becomes thick and viscous. Alternatively, put the mixture in a medium bowl and whisk until it forms slurry. Add the egg replacer mixture to the blender and process until smooth and creamy.
- Lightly oil the skillet and warm over medium or medium-high heat for a minute. The oil is needed for the first crepe only.
- Pour 1/4 cup (60 ml) of the crepe batter into the center of the heated skillet. Tilt the pan back and forth to coat the base, forming a circle with the batter. Cook for about 1 minute, or until the edges begin to lift up from the pan. Use a rubber or plastic spatula to lift and flip the crepe over and cook for 30 to 60 seconds longer.
- Transfer the crepe to the parchment-lined platter and cook the remaining crepes in the same manner. If made a day or two ahead, wrap the crepes in plastic wrap and refrigerate.
- Shortly before serving dessert, preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. (Gas Mark 2) and spread as many crepes as needed onto 1 or more baking sheets. Warm the crepes for about 2 to 3 minutes, or until warm to the touch.
The egg replacer is needed to bind the crepe batter and form crepes that hold together without breaking apart. Ener-G Egg Replacer, Neat Egg, and VeganEgg are excellent choices to consider.
The batter tends to thicken as it sits. While cooking the crepes, you can thin the batter with 1 or 2 teaspoons of soymilk to keep the consistency even.
APRICOT PLUM COMPOTE
1 pound (453g) fresh apricots, pitted and chopped into 1-inch (2.5 cm) chunks
1 pound (453g) fresh red plums, pitted and chopped into 1-inch (2.5 cm) chunks
1 1/4 cups (300 ml) well-packed brown sugar
2/3 cup (160 ml) water
2/3 cup (160 ml) fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup (120 ml) dried cranberries or dried cherries
1/2 cup (120 ml) golden raisins
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup ground cardamom
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
1/2 bunch fresh mint
2 tablespoon sesame seeds, optional
- Combine the apricots, plums, sugar, water, lemon juice, cranberries, raisins, cinnamon, and cardamom in a 4-quart (4 liter) saucepan. Cover the pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Immediately, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently for 1 to 3 minutes, or until the fruits are softened.
- Combine the cornstarch and water in a small bowl or cup and stir well to form a runny paste. Add the paste to the gently bubbling fruit compote and stir continuously for about 1 minute, or until thickened.
- To serve the crepe, put 1 crepe on a salad-size dish and spoon about a tablespoon of the sauce over the crepe. Spread the sauce with the back of a spoon. Fold the crepe either in half, or quarters, or roll the crepe.
- Spoon a generous portion of the compote over the crepe, but don't cover it completely. Garnish with a sprig of mint and a light sprinkle of sesame seeds, if you like.
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